GUAM Leaders Meet in Ukraine, Pledge to Deepen Ties

Heads of Governments of the GUAM member states – Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova – met in Kiyv on December 12, to discuss opportunities for deepening cooperation.

Prime Ministers of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, Oleksiy Honcharuk, Giorgi Gakharia, Ion Chicu as well as Vice PM of Azerbaijan, Ali Akhmedov, touched upon a number of issues of common interest, including Free Trade Area, Transport Corridor, tourism, usage of blockchain technologies in customs, as well as digitalization of GUAM’s activities.

GUAM – Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – established in 1997 largely to oppose Russia’s military and political influence – unites Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Its members are mostly preoccupied with “frozen conflicts”, and joint economic projects that link the members to European markets, bypassing Russia.

PM Gakharia, who is on a two-day visit to Ukraine, focused on economic cooperation among the GUAM member countries during the press event, and pledged that the partners will spare no efforts to deepen their economic ties. He highlighted especially, the importance of ensuring free trade area within the GUAM.

In his remarks, the Georgian PM also noted that another “very important challenge” that the GUAM member states are facing is their territorial integrity. “I expressed my gratitude to my colleagues for supporting the territorial integrity of Georgia, and again reiterated that Georgia is committed to the position that all the conflicts on the territory of Georgia will be resolved only in a peaceful way,” Gakharia said.

As part of the meeting, the heads of governments of the GUAM member states issued a joint statement, where among others, they agreed to support “expansion of cooperation” with their partner countries and international organizations “in the realization of regional projects and multilateral programs of cooperation.”

Protocols of intent on the use of blockchain technologies in verifying certificates of goods’ origin transported across the state borders of the GUAM Member States and on the mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operators were also signed between the customs administrations.

Meeting with Ukrainian President

On December 13, Georgian PM held a separate meeting with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, where the two leaders discussed their countries’ European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and on countering territorial and security challenges.

According to the Georgian PM’s press office, following the meeting, Gakharia and Zelensky signed an agreement on establishing a high-level strategic council, covering political; trade and economic; defense and security; as well as cultural and humanitarian issues.

Gakharia met with Zelensky together with other GUAM officials yesterday as well. At the meeting, the parties discussed joint economic and infrastructure projects, and “agreed on the need to take concrete steps to expand the organization’s capacity, improve GUAM’s internal communication, and promote the organization.”

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